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Google Maps to Feature Waterway Travel

Boat Travels Under Tower Bridge on River ThamesPeople who like to use Google Maps may find it easier and more convenient to plan their journeys now that the search engine giant is set to add waterways across England and Wales. This comes in a partnership with the Canal and River Trust, which is the charity that will be in charge of these water networks starting next month. The partnership will include adding 2,000 miles of river and canal paths to Google Maps in an update. Right now waterways aren’t listed as active routes travellers can use to get around. After the data has been added to Google Maps, waterways will become other routes to take through towns and cities in England and Wales – possibly even free of traffic. Canal and River Trust spokesman Jonathan Ludford says that if he is near a canal in Paddington and wants to travel to Camden, then he can put this information into Google Maps as a walking route. However, this won’t send him to the canal, despite the nice green route available to get there. Instead, it will send him by road. They will be working with Google to identify all the waterway access points, including tunnels and bridges. This project is very exciting, as Google is basically putting the English and Welsh water network on its map. People will be able to enter a route and travel by canal if it’s appropriate to do so. Many people live by canals, and they want them to use these waterways. So, having Google promote this network is a very exciting initiative, he added. Canal and River Trust chairman Tony Hales said that they are thrilled that Google has come on board as they launch. This is a great vote of confidence in the charity and recognises the important role they will play as the guardian of one of the country’s environmental treasures, he added. Google UK geospatial technologist Ed Parsons says that canal towpaths offer green routes through cities and towns. By working with Canal and River Trust, they are adding towpaths to Google Maps and urging people to discover their local waterways, he added. The decision to add waterways to Google Maps follows the search engine giant adding live Tube information from Transport for London (TfL) to the maps in April. This was part of the nation’s preparation for the surge in travellers expected to visit during the Olympic Games this summer. On top of this, Google updated its maps service to show traffic conditions in real time, allowing travellers to calculate the shortest route for journeys. The traffic conditions are shown in different colours based on their level of congestion – green routes are flowing well, while red routes are more jammed. Google Maps users are given a choice of routes so the motorist can choose which route is best for them. This feature is also available in the US, Canada, Australia and France on the web and for Android mobile devices. It may even eliminate the need for separate sat nav systems for people who use Android devices. Google Maps used to be on Apple devices as well, but Apple has decided to ditch it on its new operating system – the iOS6 for the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. The announcement was made last week, along with another that the company is making its own Maps feature.

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